Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is the most modern and powerful technique for studying brain functions non-invasively. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has acquired a cutting-edge Elekta-Neuromag Vector view 306 MEG system and established the Center for Advanced Brain Magnetic Source Imaging (CABMSI) at UPMC Presbyterian, thereby laying a foundation for remaining at the forefront of medical technology, service and research. The UPMC CABMSI is one of Elekta-Neuromag’s eight centers on the continent that, based on a partnership spearheaded by L. Dade Lunsford, MD, (Department of Neurological Surgery), is designated to become Elekta’s premier MEG site and training center for this part of the world. As such, its needs will be supported by Elekta to help it become a center of excellence.
The CABMSI is an extra-departmental entity focused on clinical and research applications of MEG. It is envisioned as a self-sustained module that “fits and feeds” the UPMC system: a resource center that provides a logistical framework for all clinical applications of MEG as well as the widest spectrum of research applications, from basic and applied research to clinical research. The center and MEG program are directed by Anto Bagic, MD, MSc (Neurology & Neurological Surgery). Clinical operations, also headed by Dr. Bagic, will be focused on the currently approved clinical indications for MEG: localization and better characterization of epileptic foci when other means are inadequate and pre-surgical brain mapping in preparation for an operation on various brain lesions amenable to surgical treatment. Pre-surgical functional brain mapping (PSFBM) may be performed more frequently, and includes using somatosensory, motor, auditory and visually evoked fields, as well as language paradigms to map accurately locations of the corresponding brain centers in reference to a lesion that will be removed surgically.
Close to 30 researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University interested in various aspects of MEG research are organized around the CABMSI through the Pittsburgh MEG Special Interest Group (coordinated by Dr. Stefanie Hassel and Erika JCL Taylor) that meets monthly and has its wiki (http://www.megwiki.org) operated and maintained by Erika JCL Taylor. Currently, there are over 10 approved MEG projects ongoing at the CABMSI, including the first awarded R03 that starts on July 1, 2008, and multiple proposals at various stages of funding process. The CABMSI is a part of NIH Training Grant T90/R90 for a multimodal neuroimaging training graduate program awarded for 5 years starting 2007. It includes a combination of MRI, fMRI, PET, MEG-EEG, and optical imaging. Seong-Gi Kim, Ph.D. (biophysicist, Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh) and William Eddy, Ph.D. (statistician, Carnegie Mellon University) serve as co-program directors.